Tag Archives: overwatch

Blizzard, Please Put Link In Overwatch

While this animation video looks exactly like something Blizzard would release, as part of some dream Zelda x Overwatch crossover event for the upcoming Switch version, it’s amazingly/sadly just the work of some fans instead.

This is actually the third time I’ve posted about this design, imagining Link as a playable character in Overwatch. The first time was when we led with Jeremy Vitry’s original artwork for his Fine Art feature. The second was when Aaron Walker turned it into a 3D model.

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Now, though, in collaboration with Vitry, Walker and some other folks (Stéphane Vidélo and Philémon Belhomme), VFX artist Etienne Pov has turned the art into a full-blown animation, complete with special moves and Zelda-specific loot box opening.

Source: Kotaku.com

New Overwatch Custom Mode Turns Sigma Into A Dodgeball Player

If you think about it, Overwatch’s new hero, Sigma, is kinda like a schoolkid—by which I mean he’s slow, and he likes to throw rocks. This, obviously, makes him an ideal competitor for a large-scale game of dodgeball.

Overwatch player Pug has created a custom mode called “Sigma Dodgeball” (code: 0V80F), in which two teams of six Sigmas face off in the time-honored sport that’s basically an IRL battle royale for children (and some adults).

The field Sigma Dodgeball is played on is is actually the roof of capture-the-flag level Ayutthaya. There’s a line in the middle of the field made of tiny domes, and if you try to cross it, you’ll die. Sigma’s primary attack is disabled, so all he can do is psychically hurl rocks at other players with his “Accretion” ability. Being hit by a rock means you’re eliminated, and the last team left standing wins. It’s silly, but it’s also pretty fun.

Sigma, unlike most children, can project holographic shields that defend against incoming projectiles. In Sigma Dodgeball, this means you and your team can coordinate defenses against the other team’s volleys. However, you shouldn’t get too attached to your shield, because it can shatter. Your best bet is to stay nimble and strafe back and forth. Problem is, Sigma is a slow-floating, shoeless old man, so a rock is bound to catch up with you eventually. And if a rock doesn’t, the ever-shrinking playing field (and you laughed when I said dodgeball was a battle royale) will.

Rounds are generally over in a minute or so, though sometimes somebody will get into a preternaturally smooth dodging flow and just dance between rocks while all their teammates get eliminated. In these moments, it feels like they’re on the verge of a comeback that’ll be the talk of the playground for hours, maybe even days, but I’ve yet to see somebody successfully overcome being outnumbered by the enemy team. As is, it’s usually pretty easy to tell which team is going to win a round within the first 20 or so seconds, as one team has more members eliminated.

Sigma can also use his ult, levitating enemies into the air before smashing them back down to earth. This is great for popping people out from behind their shields and also pulverizing their bones. Interestingly, this remains an uncommon occurrence in regular dodgeball. It’s probably for the best.

Sigma Dodgeball’s roof-based playing field can be a little janky. On more than one occasion, I have witnessed somebody fall off, only to get stuck on the roof’s ledge, at which point people on the other team were like “Huh, somebody’s still alive? Where?” Meanwhile, the person stuck on the ledge hopped up and down futilely, scrambling to avoid slipping into the jungle abyss below. This strategy does not work (they’ll eventually fall no matter what), so it’s incredibly funny to watch people try. One time, I saw this happen to someone, at which point two members of the other team slid down the roof’s slope to give chase. Knowing their days were numbered, the player who fell first took a running leap off the ledge, denying their enemies the satisfaction of killing them. Because ultimately, dodgeball is a mental game.

Source: Kotaku.com

Sigma’s New ‘Asylum’ Skin Raises Concerns About Overwatch’s Handling Of Mental-Illness Tropes

Overwatch’s newest hero, Sigma, was introduced to the world on a gurney. Though the video was purposefully non-linear, Sigma had suffered a mental breakdown after attempting to harness the power of a black hole. He hollered half-coherently while being wheeled through what appeared to be a psychiatric facility: “Hold it together, hold it together!” Since then, more and more fans have begun to feel like Sigma represents a sloppy, trope-ridden depiction of mental illness—even if Blizzard didn’t intend him to.

Yesterday, Blizzard added Sigma’s initial selection of appearance-altering skins to the PC public test server. While most of the skins were palette swaps or more ostentatious reimaginings of the gravity-bending hero, two of them make him look like he’s fresh out of an asylum, with straitjacket-like restraining belts strapped to his torso and dangling from his legs. One of these skins is literally called “Asylum,” and it features a restraining mask in addition to belts. One of his sprays, which are basically stickers you can slap on walls, shows a medical chart of his brain.

It didn’t take long for people to express discomfort over these cosmetics. “Gaming/mental health community: discussion with clear points on how damaging Sigma’s tropes are to the mental health community. Blizzard: lol names a skin Asylum,” wrote one fan.

Sigma’s “Asylum” skin

“I still can’t get over how Tracer being a lesbian and Symmetra being autistic are details that show up once in promotional Overwatch stuff and never again, but Sigma’s mental illness is referenced constantly and only in unflattering ways,” said another.

This is not the first time in Sigma’s short history that fans have raised an eyebrow at the implications of his visual design. When he was first added to the public test server last week, fans were amused, bemused, and c-mused by his lack of shoes. So of course, they went looking for answers. They discovered an Art Station post by Overwatch concept artist Qui Fang, who worked on Sigma. “We decided to keep the feet bare to sell the ‘asylum’ look a bit more; in many institutions patients are not allowed to have shoes because they might cause harm with the laces,” Fang wrote in a comment that has since been deleted.

This led to an initial round of criticism, including a post from video-game-focused mental health organization Take This. Doctors Raffael Boccamazzo and Rachel Kowert broke down inaccuracies and exaggerations in Blizzard’s depiction, saying, for example, that nobody calls psychiatric facilities “asylums” anymore, and patients do not go barefoot, even on the rare occasions that their shoes are taken away. On top of that, they said, the idea that Sigma is “unstable” and violent is especially wrongheaded, with research showing that people with mental health diagnoses tend to be victims of violence rather than those dishing it out.

Stigma is a major contributor to people refusing to seek treatment for their mental health problems,” wrote the doctors. “People are hesitant to seek help because they’re afraid what needing it might mean about them, as well as the treatment process itself. This is despite the fact that mental health challenges are incredibly common, with one in two people projected to be diagnosed in their lifetime and only about six percent of cases being severely debilitating. Despite this, there is no shortage of media representation of those with mental health challenges as irrevocably broken and often violent individuals.”

Blizzard ultimately tried to push back against this wave of criticism in a recent interview with Polygon. When asked whether Sigma is an intentional depiction of mental illness, lead writer Michael Chu chalked his archetypal quirks up to the effects of black holes.

“With the idea of the character, we never intended him to be an example of someone who’s going through mental health issues,” Chu said. “He’s really supposed to be more focused on this very specific thing that happened to him, which is that his body and his mind were literally ripped apart by the momentary exposure to a black hole.”

Chu went on to say that Sigma is just generally “eccentric” and “sees the world a little differently.” As an example, he pointed to the hero’s connection with music and how he perceives the universe, gravity, and physics through a palette of sound.

This, however, has not been reassuring for some fans, who saw Chu’s words around the same time as Sigma’s “Asylum” skin and took it to mean that the Overwatch team fell back on stereotypes without even recognizing what they were doing—that they’re not aware of the potential impact of tropes that stigmatize mental illness, or that paint mental institutions as scary horror-movie settings.

“Does Blizzard know at all how to NOT stereotype people?” asked one fan. “A crazy/scary Australian, a ‘stupid’ American cowboy, an uptight Japanese man, a South Korean girl that’s a pro at video games, and now Sigma. Mental illness shouldn’t be represented like this.”

“It feels like backtracking for Blizzard to claim Sigma wasn’t intended to have mental health issues, and that he’s actually ‘eccentric,’” read a tweet from Gaming The Mind, a UK-based organization of mental health professionals. “If he has no mental illness, it’s like they can use whatever asylum tropes they want and not have to answer for it.”

Kotaku reached out to Blizzard to gain more perspective on how it squares these seemingly disparate takes on what Sigma is about, but as of this publishing, the company hadn’t replied. For now, though, Blizzard finds itself in an awkward spot with a character players are otherwise enjoying. What happens next is the Overwatch team’s call, but given the game’s general focus on inclusivity, people are hoping they’ll listen.

“If this were a single, isolated character, that would be one thing, but it’s another in a long line of stereotyped characters which reinforce outdated images of mental illness and associated behaviors,” wrote Take This doctors Boccamazzo and Kowert. “Given some of the feedback that many on the internet are giving on this character, we hope that the designers will take that to heart and offer some changes which do not reinforce these overdone, stigmatizing tropes.”

Source: Kotaku.com

If Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy Was In Overwatch

Fine Art[Fine Art](https://kotaku.com/c/fine-art) is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some art you’d like to share, [get in touch!](mailto:plunkett@kotaku.com)  

Ladislas Gueros is an artist based in Canada, and this is his idea on how Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy would look as a guest-starring Overwatch character.

Like Hanzo, basically, only less annoying.

You can see more of Gueros’ stuff at his ArtStation page.


Source: Kotaku.com

The Internet Reacts To Overwatch’s Sigma (And His Feet)

Screenshot: Blizzard

So the new Overwatch character is a scientist? And he got feet?

The fact that Sigma, the new mad scientist of Overwatch, is not wearing shoes did not escape anyone’s notice. In fact, the internet is talking about it a lot. Meanwhile, a Blizzard character artist’s explanation that Sigma is barefoot to “sell the ‘asylum’ look” answers absolutely zero questions.

There are plenty of other jokes to make about Sigma, and the internet has made them. Observe:

Here’s one thing we’ve learned: if you wanna join the evil organization of Talon, you better have stupid shoes or zero shoes. I don’t make the rules.

Source: Kotaku.com

Overwatch’s New Hero Sigma Is Slow But Scary

What would you do if you could control gravity? Would you float everywhere? Hurl boulders at people? Yell all the time about a mysterious melody that haunts your every semi-lucid moment? Overwatch’s newest hero, the unhinged, accidentally evil astrophysicist Sigma, can do all of that and more. He’s fun to play, but he definitely takes some getting used to.

When I first started playing Sigma on Overwatch’s PC public test server earlier today, I felt uncomfortable. Despite the fact that his notably naked toesie-wosies hover about a foot off the ground at all times, he moves at a glacial pace, like most tanks. His primary attack—two “Hypersphere” projectiles that look like they were stolen from a Destiny merchandise stand—also travels a bit more slowly and arcs in a more exaggerated fashion than you might initially expect, and it has a fairly limited range.

Taken together, these things make him feel a little awkward, perhaps even vulnerable. This makes sense: He’s a barely-coherent old man whose powers come from his mind, not his brittle body. Even in those early uncomfortable moments, though, Sigma begins to reveal just how tricksy he can be. His orbs, for example, ricochet off walls, and even if they don’t nail a target square between the eyes, their impact results in an area-of-effect distortion that pulls enemies ever so slightly toward them. This can be used to disrupt aim.

It’s the rest of Sigma’s kit that turns him into a potential force to be reckoned with, though I’m still unsure how well he’ll mesh with other tanks right now. Most importantly, he has a portable shield, which likely means players will use him as a main tank like Reinhardt, Winston, and Orisa. Like his other abilities, his shield takes some getting used to. It’s similar to the floating shield Symmetra had several thousand major and minor revisions ago, except that Sigma can stop his wherever he wants and recall it with a quick button press. It’s versatile, but it has some drawbacks. You’ve got to recall it and not re-deploy it in order for it to start recharging, and it has a cooldown after it’s been busted. This means you can’t be quite as reactive as when you’re playing, say, Reinhardt, and you’ve got to have good positional awareness, because Sigma is a sitting duck without a glowing blue wall to hide behind.

Despite an almost complete lack of mobility abilities, Sigma can, to a limited extent, mitigate threats from enemies who get all up in his face. Two of his most interesting abilities, Kinetic Grasp and Accretion, serve multiple purposes. The former allows him to freeze projectiles in midair and convert them into additional shields for his HP bar, while the latter lets him smash bull-rushing fools with a big ol’ rock, resulting in a brief stun.

Both can be used to buy you some time when enemies are crashing into your personal space, but they’re also versatile tools in their own rights. Currently, Kinetic Grasp can eat powerful ults like Zarya’s Graviton Surge and Hanzo’s Dragonstrike, à la D.Va’s Defense Matrix. Sigma’s ability does, however, have a longer cooldown and more limited range than D.Va’s devourer of all things big and flashy, so hopefully he won’t slurp up the game’s balance, too. Accretion, meanwhile, actually has better range than Sigma’s regular attack, though you’ve got to be smart about how you arc it.

Then there’s his ult, which seems, at this early phase, pretty darn monstrous. Sigma rises into the air, temporarily gaining an enormous boost in mobility. While in this state, he can select a large, circular area of space on the ground. Enemies in this area will be lifted up into the air and slammed down, knocking off 50 percent of their full health total. Not only is this devastating from a damage perspective, but it can be used to move entire teams out from behind shields or lift them off points they’d bunkered down on. It can also combo extremely nicely with abilities ranging from Roadhog’s hook to McCree’s “Deadeye” ult. It feels like an absolute tide-turner, although I haven’t gotten to test it as much as I’d like in conjunction with other heroes since, surprise, everyone on the PTR is playing Sigma right now.

Sigma’s only been playable for part of today, meaning he’s still buried under a heap of questions so dense that not even his airborne feetsies can breathe. How will he synergize with other heroes and compositions, especially with the game-changing 2-2-2 role lock just around the corner? Are his abilities tuned well, or will they need some nerfing and buffing before he hits live servers? Why does he not wear shoes? I mean, on the one hand, if I could float, I guess I wouldn’t need them, but on the other hand I wouldn’t be floating through a series of bullet-riddled battlefields that have already claimed countless feet as casualties.

For now, though, Sigma is certainly a complex and unique tank, even if some of his abilities hearken back to ideas that Overwatch has already experimented with before. I’m excited to see what players do with him once he’s in the fray for real.

Source: Kotaku.com

Video Game Characters Are Terrible At Archery

Screenshot: Sony

Video game characters love their bows and arrows, but I hate to be the bearer of bad news—almost all of them are terrible at archery. As an archer myself, I’ve had to spend a lot of time teaching and observing the sport, so I thought it might be appropriate to explain why, in real life, some of your favorite arrow-shooting characters at best wouldn’t be able to shoot straight and at worst would severely injure themselves.

Link, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Illustration: Nintendo

One of the cardinal sins of archery is dry-firing a bow. A dry fire is the process of drawing the bow’s string back and then letting go without an arrow in place. A normal bow draws back to a conservative estimate of 30 to 40 pounds of tension created by the bending of the bow. As such you’re holding those pounds on your fingers. If you let that go without an arrow on it, all that energy comes rushing back into the bow, which could potentially shatter its limbs (the long ends of the bow), break the string, and/or make a god-awful sound. Think a tiny thunder roll in your hand. In rare cases, this could become dangerous to the archer, especially if the string snaps near the face, but more likely would it vibrate your arm and be more harmful to your bank account.

Whenever Link runs out of arrows, he pulls back his bowstring anyway. In the game, doing this is pretty useful to scope out enemies and such, but once he’s finished, Link just lets go of the string. Knowing how delicate weapons are in Breath of the Wild, this is a bad idea. What we see in the game as a cute little “ping” would be a disaster in real life; if your bow didn’t break, you’d have to spend the next 30 minutes checking for signs of damage. Life lesson: If you need to observe something, just use the Sheikah Slate.

Screenshot: Rockstar

Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2

If you’ve ever tried archery, you know it’s not easy. In fact, you’d be surprised at how incredibly difficult the sport is. In Red Dead Redemption 2, poor Arthur Morgan is handed a longbow and told to hunt deer with it. Not only is Arthur a complete beginner, but generally speaking, longbows are the hardest bows to consistently aim at a stationary target, let alone a frolicking one.

As a novice, there is no way Arthur would be able to shoot a deer in the head from more than 15 meters away. His release is also trash. He splays out his hand and shoots his shoulder and elbow far back enough to knock out any comrades nearby. All in all, Arthur Morgan, the beefiest character on the list, should stick to two other types of shots: the bullet kind, and the ones he takes with Lenny.

Screenshot: Sony

Aloy, Horizon: Zero Dawn 

Game developers love to make a character look and feel good. Often, to get a point across, you might see an exaggeration of visual features that are important to a character. For Aloy, this is her fletchings. Fletchings, or vanes, are the feathers or plastic things you see on the end of the arrow, designed to help your glorified stick fly more predictably through the air. They’re really useful and pretty important when it comes to archery, but Aloy’s are ridiculously oversized. If you were to have fletchings that big, your arrows would be more unpredictable, as they would ricochet off the bow to the left. Or every arrow’s fletchings would be ruined, and your arrow damaged. Aloy, we get that you’re an archer—just tone down the feathers, okay?

Pit, Kid Icarus: Uprising

Photo: Nintendo

Pit’s bow is gorgeous but comically impractical. Made out of two swords jointed at the hilt, it is the most dangerous bow on this list, and not for the right reasons. Bows aren’t nearly as elegant as you might assume. Carry a lightweight object that’s close to your own height in just one hand, and accidents are bound to happen. I don’t know of any archer who hasn’t accidentally bumped someone else or themselves with their bow, and when your bow is made out of two menacing blades, the outcome could be gory.

Another labored part of archery is loading an arrow onto the bow. In every game, show or movie, loading a bow seems swift and beautiful, but in reality it is quite fiddly. You’d need to check the orientation of the arrow was correct before “nocking” or fixing the arrow to the string, all of which takes at least a couple seconds. Orientation of the arrow matters because otherwise the arrow’s fletchings will graze the rest of the bow, compromising its flight path.

When nocking an arrow, you’d also have the bow down by your leg. I actually rest mine on my thigh to hold it steady. Even if an archer were to hold the bow away from their body when loading an arrow, bringing their arm up to shoot would mean swinging a blade past their leg to aim. Pit loading an arrow in a flurry of movement without nocking the arrow wrong or slicing himself is improbable at best, and a quick amputation at worst.

Screenshot: Blizzard

Hanzo, Overwatch

Hanzo is a really difficult character to critique, because if you’ve ever played Overwatch, you know his third- and first-person techniques are completely different. In third-person, Hanzo holds the bow upright; in first-person he holds it sideways. Holding a bow sideways deeply limits the draw length of the bow because your body is in the way. You can only pull back as far as your torso is away from the bow, whereas holding it upright means you can pull back to your face or further. It’s also hazardous to your arm’s health. I once met a girl who tried shooting sideways, who proceeded to show me a photo of the damage she did to her arm. It wasn’t pretty, and I’m sure Hanzo’s arm wouldn’t be either.

Normally, another issue that I would have with Hanzo would be the lack of an anchor point, which is a specific place on your body you “anchor” your hand to in every shot for consistency. Anchor points are important for any archery that doesn’t require a sight, because it helps an archer reference to where they should pull back. In Hanzo’s style of modern barebow, the anchor point will often will be on the face—you’d use a finger to touch the corner of your mouth, or a tooth.

However, I cannot fault Hanzo for his lack of an anchor point, because Hanzo is Japanese, and the Japanese have a particular version of archery called kyūdō. It’s an art form, really, and those that perform it have a different way of achieving accuracy, basically relying on dedicated practice. The masters of kyūdō don’t rely on a physical anchor point as most archers do; they pull the string back to somewhere near the face and let loose.

I’ll give Hanzo the benefit of the doubt and say he’s a kyūdō master. But what I can’t forgive is the weight of his bow. Hanzo grits his teeth and shakes like he’s experiencing an earthquake every time he shoots. This indicates that he is way too weak to be handling his bow, especially if he were trying to shoot high-quality arrows on a battlefield. You’d get really tired really quickly, and your aim would be affected by a lack of stability—not to mention the backache you’d feel the next day. Fixes include getting a new bow or going to the gym, so unless Hanzo wants to trade in his weapon, he might need a few protein shakes here and there.

Screenshot: Sony

Ellie, The Last of Us

Every other character on this list should be ashamed for being shown up by a 14-year-old. Ellie is the most realistic archer in any of the games on this list. Every shot looks almost exactly the same. She is consistent and precise. The further away you aim, the more the arrow drops on the way there. Arrows break, which they would in real life if you hit bone.

Ellie is no doubt the best. My only gripe with her is the back quiver, where she stores her arrows. I understand that Ellie might not have the time to find a better solution, but in general, back quivers are pretty stupid. You can’t see the arrows, for one, so if you were in a combat situation, every time you wanted to fire, you would have to reach back, maybe stab your hand on the end of an arrow, fiddle around to find an arrow, pull it out at a really awkward angle, and then shoot it. Not to mention the fact that you might not notice if you didn’t have any arrows left.

Back quivers also make collecting arrows an issue, because trying to place a stick in a pocket on your back is hard. How about when you’re trying to be stealthy? When you bend down, it’s very likely they would just slide out, clatter to the ground, and hey presto, Ellie would be dead. It would be a shame, too, as she would do well in an archery competition.

Ellie could instead use a field quiver, which goes around the waist and often has a lot of room for tools. Field quivers are unfortunately quite loud when it comes to movement, since arrows tend to rattle when loose, so my recommendation for Ellie would be a bow quiver. It’s an attachment to your bow to hold your arrows directly on the “riser” (the handle) in a fixed position. Advantages include no clattering of arrows, easy access to arrows, and a constant visual of ammunition—not to mention making the bow look a lot more impressive.

Screenshot: Kotaku (Square Enix)

Lara Croft, Rise of the Tomb Raider

Gaming’s legendary heroine is also the pinnacle of bad video game archery. Rise of the Tomb Raider smushes so many mistakes into this one gameplay mechanic that you’re going to need to buckle up, because I can’t hold back.

Lara Croft, explorer extraordinaire, has to do a lot of sneaking around to find the very best a tomb may have to offer, as well as killing a couple of unfortunate souls on the way, and a compound bow is often her weapon of choice to get the job done. Up until now, most bows we’ve seen on this list are simply a stick and some string. Compounds are the more complex, more technical younger brother of the traditional bow. They require a complicated mixture of “cables” (string) and “cams” (rotating discs that the cables sit on), from which they get the name “compound.” They’re faster and more accurate.

A compound bow has a couple other crucial advantages that make it an accurate and deadly weapon. The biggest thing is that its draw length, the distance between the bow and the string when it’s pulled back to the face, is specific to the archer using it. It’s basically custom-fit. Once you get it back to that draw length you can’t pull it back further without damaging the bow or compromising yourself.

The problem Lara displays is something you can demonstrate to yourself with a little audience participation. If you put your left arm straight out to the side, and your right hand by your chin/jawline, the distance between those two places is about what your draw length should be. That is indeed the distance Lara’s bow comes back to. Now put that right hand by your left armpit. That’s a significantly shorter distance, right? Well, when Lara crouches down, the string goes straight through her armpit to make up for this distance issue.

Ow.
Screenshot: Kotaku (Square Enix)

The draw length being specific means you also shouldn’t draw short. The way a compound is designed means there’s an arc of “weight” to the bowstring. It’s really light when you start drawing, then gets really difficult to pull back, but becomes light again when you reach your draw length. Drawing about halfway, which Lara often does, means that holding the bow would be an incredible struggle, if not incredibly stupid. The accuracy of the shot would decrease—not to mention the fact that Lara’s arm gets in the way of the string.

This isn’t even the biggest issue I have with Lara’s shot, because Lara has a sight on her bow that she doesn’t use. When standing with the bow upright, she pulls it to the side of her face, looking down the length of the arrow to aim. That’s not necessary, and is less accurate, when you have a sight on the bow. When Lara crouches, the sight is oriented sideways, so she actually can’t see down it.

Her bow itself has another problem. There are arrow rests that can hold an arrow in place no matter what the orientation of the bow is, but Lara’s bow doesn’t have those, meaning that arrows should be falling right off of her bow in many situations. And yes, she even uses a back quiver. Ultimately, our Tomb Raider would be the worst character on this list emulate if you were going to pick up a bow.

I know that many people don’t care how accurate archery is in video games, but as an archer, this has been therapeutic for me. We’re always on the lookout to see how accurately our sport is represented in games, and are often disappointed. All I can really end this on is asking you to go out and try archery for yourselves. It’s a fantastic sport, especially if you hate running. Please, however, listen to archers when they tell you not to try the version of archery you see in games. You’d likely hurt our pride—as well as your body.

Calypso Mellor is a freelance journalist with a passion for point-and-clicks, piano, and puns. You can often find her in a field shooting a target from fairly far away, or alternatively on Twitter @imomellor.

Source: Kotaku.com

Overwatch’s New Hero Is Sigma, An Astrophysicist Who Doesn’t Know He’s A ‘Living Weapon’

After a series of teases that culminated in the apparent demise of Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan, Blizzard has revealed the game’s latest hero. His name is Sigma, and he has the power to see math. Also, perhaps related to that, he can control gravity.

Today, Blizzard introduced Sigma in an animated story trailer. “Gravity is a harness,” Sigma says in the trailer. “I have harnessed the harness.” But that wasn’t enough for him, so he decided to try and double-harness the power of a black hole. That, however, appears to have driven him mad, or at least stuffed his brain so full that it’s like an overflowing bowl of mashed potatoes.

Like many a great mad scientist before him, Sigma is evil. Specifically, the trailer ends with him standing alongside Widowmaker, Sombra, Moira (who’d be the obvious ship if we weren’t all 99 percent sure she’s gay), and other members of Overwatch’s Talon organization. But, Blizzard adds, there’s a twist: Sigma is apparently “unaware” that he’s “being used as a living weapon.”

We’ll almost certainly find out more about how he plays later this week.

Source: Kotaku.com

Role-Locking Is Coming To Overwatch, According To Leaked Video

Today, a pre-recorded Overwatch League video leaked sharing news that Blizzard is apparently implementing role-locking in Overwatch and the Overwatch League. It is currently unclear how role-locking will manifest in the game itself.

Starting soon, all team compositions in the Overwatch League will consist of two damage-dealers, two supports, and two tanks, explained league staffers in the leaked video. The decision was made because “the more that we can do to keep the pro experience in Overwatch League consistent with the live game experience of Overwatch players, the better from the Overwatch League perspective,” explained Overwatch senior product director Jonathan Spector.

The dramatic shift may not come as a surprise to lots of fans; hints have been dropped for months. Before quitting the league, former pro Chan-hyung “Fissure” Baek apparently confirmed it. The esports site Upcomer did, too, in a report where they spoke with several internal sources. And before announcing tonight’s Overwatch League broadcast, where the news was apparently slated to air, three Overwatch league casters each threw up a peace sign—2-2-2.

What might rattle even the most tuned-in fans was Spector’s comment that “2-2-2 is coming to the game soon” in what he describes as the “biggest change that’s happened in Overwatch since they added the one-hero limit.” Without more details, it seems like the rule will be implemented in the game, meaning regular players will be asked to follow the pros’ lead and specialize in a certain class map-by-map. It’s unclear whether this will be across the board or simply in the game’s competitive mode. On the Overwatch subreddit, players are expressing cautious optimism.

Role-locking will come as a welcome change for Overwatch league fans who are sick of the dominant “GOATS” meta, an unflashy playstyle of three tanks and three supports. Without Widowmaker’s hype headshots or Tracer’s zippy time-turning, players became bored of tuning in to the same old compositions over and over for months. Those opposed to role-locking’s implementation would argue that GOATS was already on its way out. Damage-dealing heroes like Sombra and Pharah were insinuating themselves more and more into the meta; who’s to say that Tracer might not come back, too?

In the leaked video, Spector says that the Overwatch League team let pro players vote on implementing role-locking. “An overwhelming majority of the teams supported the approach that we’re taking here,” he says.

For fans tired of playing support when four players insta-lock DPS, or fans excited to play tank knowing they’ll have two supports behind them, role-locking will unlock a version of the game they believe best represents its core. Others who prefer a more molten and chaotic meta might find Blizzard’s unilateral decision stifling. For my part, I can’t wait to see Saebyeolbe back in action.

Source: Kotaku.com

Hasbro’s New Overwatch Figure Shows Off Reinhardt’s Pretty Face

Out of all the characters recreated in plastic for Hasbro’s first wave of Overwatch action figures, the hands-down, hammers-up best is the super-sized Reinhardt with his gorgeous mech suit and dinner plate-sized shield. The only way it could be better would be if we could see the old man’s pretty face. Oh hi there, San Diego Comic-Con Reinhardt Bundswehr version.

Hasbro hit the jackpot when they secured the license for Overwatch action figures. Not only does the toymaker have the rights to make figures based on the entire roster of Blizzard’s hero shooter, they also have a well of variant figures based on the game’s bountiful array of cosmetic skins. That means masked Anna and unmasked Reaper from the first wave, which I reviewed earlier this year, aren’t the end-all, be-all. This new version of Reinhardt is posing plastic proof.

Available exclusively at the Hasbro booth during San Diego Comic-Con, the Bundswehr version of Reinhardt strips the mask off of Overwatch’s best tank, letting the poor old man breathe easy for a bit. The eight-inch tall figure comes packaged in a large box, frozen against a cardboard backdrop of combat chaos.Reinhardt’s hammer, which is gold instead of the silver and gray of the original figure, sports a translucent yellow impact effect. It’s a lovely box, the sort that collectors might want to keep sealed for shelf display.

For me, however, a toy is not a toy until I’ve played with it, so I tore open the packaging and grabbed some glamor shots of Herr Wilhelm. Old and scarred with a neatly-trimmed beard and slicked-back hair, the unmasked version of Reinhardt is who I aspire to be when I am slightly older. Just gotta figure out the whole hair thing.

And yes, the package also includes my favorite toy accessory of the year, the microwave-safe platter shield, complete with painted wolf emblem.

This German military service version of Reinhardt is available at Hasbro’s booth at SDCC for $60. I imagine it’s also on eBay, selling for around *checks price* $100. More importantly, he’s a harbinger of things to come in Hasbro’s Overwatch Ultimates figure line. We’re going to be up to our pauldrons in variants, you guys.

Source: Kotaku.com